Brief on Bilateral Relations

Consulate General of India

Houston

***

The jurisdiction of the Consulate General of India covers the US state of Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Louisiana. Texas is the largest state in the jurisdiction of the Consulate.

Political

  1.  Politically, Texas is in a class of its own. With 36 members in the Congress (total strength 535), it is the 2nd largest group of legislators in the US Congress. It is likely to get 4 more seats following an expected delimitation exercise because of its growing population. 3 US Presidents (Lyndon B Johnson and father and son George Bush) had their political base in Texas. A fourth President, Dwight D Eisenhower, was born in Texas.

  1.  Governor of Texas Greg Abbott visited India in March 2018. This was the first ever visit by a Governor of Texas to India. He visited Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi. In Delhi he met PM, CIM and Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas.  Governor of Colorado John W Hickenlooper visited India on October 8, 2017 for a 7 day trade mission. He met EAM in New Delhi. Lieutenant Governor of New Mexico, John Sanchez, visited India in July 2017.

  1. Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan visited Houston in  March 4 -7, 2017. Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu of Andhra Pradesh visited Dallas on May 6 -7, 2017.  State delegations from Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Haryana (led by PWD Minister Shri. Rao Narbir Singh) visited Houston on November 30-December 6, 2017, June 12 - 17, 2016 and February 24 - 27, 2018 respectively.

  1.  Senator Cornyn of Texas co-founded and co-Chairs the India Caucus of the Senate. Senators Cory Gardner of Colorado and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana are members. Several Congressmen from this area are separately members of the Congress India Caucus.

  1.  US Representative Pete Olson visited India on April 6, 2018. US Representative Sheila Jackson Lee has visited India on separate occasions on April 20, 2003 and February 20-25, 2017. US Representative Pete Sessions visited India on 16 August 2016.

Trade and Economic

  1. Texas, with a GDP of US$1.6 trillion, is by itself the tenth largest economy of the world. It is considered to be the most dynamic region of the US and went through a recent “Texas economic miracle” with high growth rates and a diversification of its economy. It sits on the largest hydrocarbon deposits in the United States. Fracking, which was one of the reasons for the fall in global oil prices, originated in Texas. It is home to 92 of America’s largest 500 companies and 12 of the world’s 500 largest companies. Texas is today a major player in healthcare, in renewable energy, in high technology, in defence/aerospace and in financial services.  The Consulate General of India covering Texas is located in Houston which is one of the four major cities in Texas. All these four cities, viz., Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, St. Antonio and Austin are ranked among the ten largest cities in the US. Houston, is the centre of the hydrocarbon and health industries, Austin is the capital of Texas and contains the “Silicon Hills” of the United States, San Antonio is a center of the cyber industry and Dallas houses a concentration of financial services, hi-tech, defence and aerospace industries. Texas is also a part of the major logistical Gulf Coast hub. The states of Texas and Louisiana covered by CGI Houston have 8 of the 15 largest ports in the United States (New Orleans, Houston, Beaumont, Corpus Christi, Baton Rouge, Laker Charles being some of the more well known). Texas and Colorado (also covered by CGI Houston) have 3 of the 15 busiest airports in the United States. The Texas-Mexico land border is also a major conduit for movement of goods between NAFTA partners USA and Mexico. 6 of the 10 busiest truck crossings on this border are in Texas with a 7th in the state of New Mexico.

  1. Texas accounts for around 10% of India-US trade. About US$ 7 billion/ Rs 45,000 crores worth of good and commodities moved between India and Texas in 2017. Trade growth rates have been moderate. They have increased only by 7% between 2013 and 2017.  Trade deficit figures do not show any pattern and fluctuations in the volume of imports and exports in each direction are common.

  1.  Major items shipped to India include chemicals, petroleum and gas, transportation equipment and agricultural products. Major items shipped from India are textiles and chemicals.

  1. FDI from Texas accounts for about 20% of cumulative US FDI into India during the period 2011-16.  Texas companies have invested about US$3 billion in India in these 5 years. 12 of the world’s 500 largest companies (Fortune Global 500) and 52 of America’s largest companies (Fortune US 500) are based in Texas. Arkansas has 2 of the Global Fortune 500 and 6 of the US Fortune 500;   Colorado has 1 in the Global 500 and 10 in the US 500 list; Nebraska has 1 of Global 500 and 4 in the US 500. (see Annexure A). These companies include many of the most famous brands of the world such as Wal Mart, ExxonMobil, Berkshire Hathaway, AT&T, Texas Instruments, Dell, Schlumberger and Halliburton to name a few. It is today a major player in healthcare, in renewable energy, in high technology, in defence/aerospace (Lockheed Martin, Bell Helicopters) and in financial services.

  1. While it is difficult to comprehensively list the involvement of these companies in India, many of these companies having a growing presence in the Indian market. It is evident that exposure and interest are both growing. Interest in MakeinIndia is present. Lockheed Martin has its F16 production line in Dallas and has publicly offered to shift it to India. GE’s locomotive business located in Dallas already has a major manufacturing operation in Bihar as does Texas Instruments in Bangalore.  Many of these companies also outsource business processes to India and maintain R&D hubs. Investment in R&D facilities appears to be on the rise.
  2. There is also a significant and growing flow of FDI from  India to Texas. during the period of January 2011 – March 2016 is a total capital investment of $363.70 million. According to a survey done by “Business in Texas”, this direct investment was generated through 19 projects with 16 companies and resulted in the creation of 6,317 jobs in Texas.

  1. Among the major Indian companies who have established their U.S headquarters in Texas include Mahindra USA, Larsen and Toubro, Wipro Ltd, Reliance Holdings and Infosys. Houston also houses the US headquarters of the three public sector undertakings; ONGC Videsh Ltd, Oil India Ltd and Gail Global USA.

  1.  Indian IT companies have a major presence in Texas. Wipro has its global headquarters in Dallas.

  1.  2 India specific chambers of commerce operate in the Consulate’s jurisdiction. These are the Indo American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston and the US-India Chamber of Commerce of Dallas/ Fort Worth.

Hydrocarbons

  1. The discovery of oil in Texas in 1901 transformed its economy. Houston is today known as the Energy Capital of the World because of its concentration of hydrocarbon companies. Texas produces approximately 3 million barrels of oil per day or almost 50% of US oil production and 5% of global oil production. It has about a quarter of all US oil reserves. If it were a nation, it would be the 9th largest producer of oil in the world. The volume of oil that Texas produces could cover about 60-70% of India’s oil consumption. Texas has about 30 refineries which refine about 5 million barrels per day or about a third of all US refining capacity. The refineries are a part of a massive petrochemical complex located in the US Gulf Coast in the states of Texas and Louisiana. Oilfields, refineries, pipelines and ports are linked by a huge network of pipelines. The ports of Houston, Beaumont and Corpus Christi are amongst the largest hydrocarbon terminals in the United States and much of its  hydrocarbon and petrochemical exports and imports flow through these ports. All these have also made Houston a major oil trading center.

  1.  Three of the major oil and gas Public Sector Undertakings of India, Oil India Limited (OIL), Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) and ONGC Ltd have established the headquarters of their US operations in Houston, Texas.

  1. GAIL has a 20% “working interest” stake in Texas based hydrocarbon company Carrizo’s assets in the Eagle Ford shale formation. It paid US$ 63 million for this stake in 2011.  It also has a 20-year contract with Texas-based Cheniere Inc to procure 3.5 million tonnes per annum (worth approximately US$1 billion) of LNG. The GAIL-Cheniere contract has been utilized to raise financing for the Sabine Pass LNG terminal which is on its way to becoming one of the largest LNG shipment facilities globally. Oil India (USA) Inc. has also entered into a purchase and participation agreement with Carrizo Oil & Gas, Inc. and one of its affiliates to acquire a 20% working interest in shale gas properties located in the Niobrara Formation area in Weld, Morgan, and Adams counties of the State of Colorado.

  1.  CERAWeek is the leading trade show in the petroleum world and takes place in Houston. CERAWeek 2017 was sponsored by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. CERAWeek has also launched an India edition and the 1st CERAWeek in India was held in October 2017. Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas launched its Discovered and Small Fields (DSF) and Hydrocarbon and Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP) licensing rounds were launched by Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan through roadshows in Houston in July 2016 and March 2017 respectively.

  1.  Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has an International Think Tank that advises the Minister and Government of India on policy issues.  Shri Ashok Belani, CTO of Schlumberger (Houston-based) is the convenor of the Think Tank. The first meeting of the Think Tank took place in CGI Houston in May 2017.  

NRI Community

  1.  Although there are no accurate figures, it is estimated that there are about 500,000 Indian in the jurisdiction of CGI Houston. The two largest concentrations are in Houston and Dallas and their suburbs which have approximately 150,000 Indians each. The other large centres of Indian population are Austin, San Antonio, Denver (in Colorado), and Benton (Walmart HQ in Arkansas).
  1.  The number is known to be growing.
  1.  The Indian community is considered to be a model immigrant community. Almost all Indians in this area came initially on H1B visas reserved for highly skilled migrants. Most Indian migrants have advanced or professional degrees and are employed in the hydrocarbons, healthcare, financial services, technology services and advanced manufacturing industries. An appreciable, and growing, number of Indians hold senior to very senior positions in businesses.
  1.  Indian IT majors – Infosys, TCS, Wipro, Tech Mahindra, Cognizant etc. – also have thousands of Indian employees located in Texas and its surrounding States.  
  1. The rapid growth of Indian population is about two decades old and coincides with the H1B immigration process designed to bring in skilled immigrants into the US.  Texas, being one of the few areas in the United States that is growing rapidly and creating jobs, attracts a substantial proportion of the roughly 65,000 – 80,000 Indians coming in on H1B visas into the US annually.  There are no figures for accurately estimating the growth rate. There is, however, large anecdotal evidence. The Indian population in the Dallas suburb of Irving is supposed to be growing at the rate of 30 families per day.  The attendance at large Indian cultural events, temples, religious functions and other social events has also constantly grown. The number of such events is also growing as evident on the invitation to the Consulate.
  2. The Indian community in the jurisdiction of this Consulate has organized itself into a number of associations and other collective bodies.  They are active and hold a growing number of India related cultural, religious and social events. Houston itself has at least a dozen major cultural centers including temples and places of worship patronized by various sections of the diaspora.  
  3.  The Community Affairs Section of the Consulate maintains a list of Indian Associations and their office bearers across the jurisdiction of the Consulate.  The Consulate is in regular touch and frequent touch with the Associations and their office bearers.

Consular Services

  1.  The Consulate provides various services including Passports, Visas, OCI, Renunciation, Emergency Certificate and Miscellaneous services. During the year 2017 (January - December), the Consulate provided 22,861 OCIs, 7,332 Renunciations, 19,643 Passports, 24,469 Visas, 6,879 Miscellaneous services and 170 Emergency Certificates. This adds up to a total of 81,354 services for the year 2017. Number of employment visas given during the same time period (Jan 2017- Dec 2017) is 333.
  1. An emerging area of consular work, driven by the presence of a large diaspora, relates to family disputes, desertions, child custody disputes, marital disputes, etc.

Consular Camps

  1. The Consulate regularly holds Consular camps in different locations in its jurisdiction. Concentrations of Indian population have been identified and teams of Consular officers travel to these concentrations according to a schedule that is announced six months in advance. The Consular camps are held in association with local Indian associations. This has dramatically improved the outreach of the Consulate and its contacts with the diaspora while making consular services more easily accessible.
  1. In 2016, the Consulate held 14 Consular camps spread over the three states of Colorado, Texas and Louisiana. These camps served a total of 2,543 applicants. In 2017,  the Consulate held 37 Consular camps spread over all the eight states of Colorado, Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. These camps served a total of 8,376 applicants.  In 2018 till date (June 2018), the Consulate has held 15 Consular camps spread over all the seven states of Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kansas and Nebraska. These camps served a total of 3,993 applicants.

Education

  1. About 34,477 Indian students study in Universities in the jurisdiction of CGI Houston, as of March 2018. The major concentration of Indian students are in the state of Texas (24,762 students) The universities with the largest numbers of Indian students are University of Houston and University of Texas at Austin. Around two thirds of the Indian students studying here pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) degrees and Business degrees, mostly at graduate level.
  1. A number of US Universities in this area are setting up research and academic linkages with Indian Universities.  Texas A&M University started a student exchange program with IIT Kanpur in 2008, which has expanded to an annual program of internships of 20 students in 4 IITs and to BITS Pilani. University of Houston has an agreement with Oil India Ltd to undertake joint research on enhancing oil recovery from spent/depleted oil fields in Assam. It also has MoUs with Delhi Technological University and the Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy. The world famous cancer hospital MD Anderson has a research relationship with Tata Cancer Hospital and also has linkages with AIIMS New Delhi. The Nursing Council of India has a MoU with the University of Houston on cooperation in developing curricula and other aspects of creating an advanced nursing degree in India. The University of Texas at Arlington and the University of North Texas at Denton have shown interest in developing joint degree programs with Indian universities.
  1. University of Houston has an India Studies Center. The University of Texas at Austin has a South Asia Institute that has a major focus on India.
  1. Indians occupy senior positions in academia in Universities in this area. The University of Houston and the University of Texas at Arlington are headed by distinguished Indian origin academics. Dr Renu Khator, President, University of Houston is the member of the Empowered Expert Committee which is selecting Indian Universities for “Institute of Eminence” status.
  1. Texas is also a major force in vocational training. The Alamo College, one of the largest vocational training institutes in the United States, has done some skilling programs in India on a pilot basis.  

Cultural activities

  1. The substantial Indian origin population in the jurisdiction of this Consulate organizes a large number of cultural activities. CGI Houston works with many of these bodies in helping organize these activities and also participates in them. CGI Houston itself organizes a number of events in the Consulate. Some of these are in association with local Indian bodies.
  1. The Consulate also works with local bodies in organising the annual Houston India Conference. The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, one of the leading museums in this part of the United States, organised a joint exhibition with the Mehrangarh Museum of Jodhpur in early 2018. A major photographic exhibition based on India was also held in Houston in early 2018. The Jaipur Literary Festival is likely to commence a Houston edition in 2018.
  1.  The Consulate has been active in promoting Yoga. A Texas Yoga Network has been created which links organisations and associations working in Yoga. International Day of Yoga is celebrated at separate but coordinated events in Houston, San Antonio, Austin and Dallas.

Indian origin politicians

  1. “Sri” Kulkarni is the Democratic candidate for US Congress against US Representative Pete Olson. There are no other elected legislators of Indian origin in Texas. Janak Joshi was elected to the Colorado state legislature and served on it for about 5 years. Usha Reddi was elected to the Manhattan City Commission in Kansas for a four year term from April 2013. Ken Mathews is member of the City Council in Stafford, Texas.
  1. Judges are elected in Texas. A number of Indians are Judges or are standing for election. Judge Ravi Sandill has served as Judge of the 127th Civil District Court in Harris County, and  is running for the Supreme Court of Texas. Shampa Mukerji and Juli Mathews are both standing for election as Judges at the County level.

July 20, 2018